It has been reported in The Independent newspaper that under the terms of a legal settlement struck in 2017, 40 law firms are barred from bringing any new claims against...Read more
Specialist personal injury solicitors from Novum Law have secured nearly £10 million compensation for a successful businessman (‘Mr G’) seriously injured in a road traffic accident nine years’ ago.
Kim Chamberlain, a director of Novum Law took over conduct of the claim from the previous law firm, when Mr G’s family had some concerns regarding the way in which their case was progressing. The case was run by Novum Law senior associate Diane Reading, who is very experienced in supporting clients living with brain injury.
Novum Law was able to identify the key issues quickly and effectively, working closely with Mr G and his family. Through this combined effort which was key to the final outcome, the family received almost five times the amount of compensation offered previously.
Road traffic accident
In late November 2011, ‘Mr G’ was driving in the middle lane of a roundabout, intending to take the second exit when he was involved in a collision with a car which changed lanes without warning. This caused Mr G’s car to spin out of control and crash into a lamp post.
At first, Mr G’s injuries seemed relatively minor, presenting as typical whiplash-type symptoms in his neck, shoulders, and upper back. He also started getting headaches. However, just over a week later he collapsed. At the time doctors associated this with severe whiplash but later, they diagnosed this episode as a mini stroke (a transient ischemic attack or TIA).
Some 11 months’ later, Mr G went on to have a major stroke due to an aneurism caused by a dissected carotid artery, which is a tear in one of the major arteries in the neck which supplies blood to the brain. Doctors confirmed Mr G’s dissected carotid artery was a result of his earlier road traffic accident.
Impact of his major stroke
Mr G’s stroke was catastrophic, resulting in restricted mobility, severe weakness (hemiparesis) and reduced sensation in his right hand, arm, and right leg. He also experienced difficulties understanding complex sentences, had problems with his speech and language (global aphasia), memory and speed of information processing.
He developed dysexecutive syndrome, resulting in emotional and behavioural issues, which led to changes to his personality, including low tolerance and high impulsivity. Significant fatigue and disturbed sleep also affected him, and he went on to suffer seizure/episodes where he would collapse, all due to his major stroke.
Mr G initially had to undergo numerous surgical procedures. Doctors performed an emergency craniectomy immediately following his stroke and a cranioplasty. Due to infections, he had to endure 11 further invasive and debilitating operations and was left with noticeable scarring.
As a result of his stroke, he lacked capacity to litigate and manage his financial affairs.
Seeking personal injury compensation
As is the case for many clients, Mr G wanted to deal with the inconvenience of the repairs to his vehicle at the earliest time, and was referred to a hire car company that also referred him to solicitors who could act on his behalf. Mr G’s family were entitled to seek compensation for his injuries and losses.
He could not have anticipated the turn of events that followed, and the serious, life-changing injuries he suffered as a consequence.
Unfortunately, progress was slow and over 5 ½ years’ later, no settlement had been reached. The family were in deep crisis, struggling financially and emotionally, as Mr G and his family did not have access to the essential care and support, they desperately needed.
With no end in sight, they turned to Novum Law’s specialist personal injury team in Swindon for help. Our solicitors reviewed Mr G’s case and were able to provide them with an immediate strategy to assist him to access funds that would in turn allow them to obtain the crucial support, additional care and therapies he needed, as well as add significant value to his case.
Mr G’s previous solicitor had agreed a reduction of damages, apportioning liability on an 80/20 basis, in Mr G’s favour. Unfortunately, what this meant was that Mr G and his family would have to fund the shortfall in damages of 20% for all his future losses, over his entire lifetime – a substantial sum. The defendants had also proposed a further 10% reduction in compensation, raising arguments on causation as his catastrophic stroke had occurred over 10 months after his accident.
Novum Law’s experts recognised that there was every possibility that they could gather sufficient evidence to reverse those reductions and allow Mr G to recover his damages in full.
Mr G’s needs are significant and complex and he requires extensive support from a specialist rehabilitation team. He also needs care and case management, mobility aids and equipment, and a larger property that can be adapted to meet his day to day living requirements.
Getting results for our client
Novum Law’s solicitors got to work tracing and making contact with witnesses to the accident that had taken place over 5 years before. They were able to establish that Mr G was not in any way responsible for the accident.
Obtaining the right expert evidence from a leading neurologist and the medical professional who diagnosed Mr G’s dissected carotid artery, the team was able to establish the cause of the stroke and link it to his accident, obtaining a full admission of liability from the defendant and ultimately a recovery of 100% of his damages, with no reductions.
Interim payments were secured so that Mr G could access the vital care and support, medical treatment, and rehabilitation he needed, as quickly as possible, during the period of time before his final settlement was reached. An experienced brain injury case manager was appointed, and a rehabilitation team was sourced so that appropriate therapies were provided at the earliest time, and are ongoing.
Due to the extent of his injuries, the medical experts within the litigation indicated that Mr G lacked mental capacity to make important decisions for himself, so without delay, the team applied to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order.
The Deputyship order meant that Mr G would have the help in place he needed to manage his finances effectively. As capacity was also an issue in dispute, the team was able to obtain an order for the proposed deputy to administer funds, pending resolution of these issues. This ensured Mr G had access to funds that he previously could not use.
Loss of earnings was also a significant factor in Mr G’s claim. At the time of his accident, he was a director of his own very successful, family run businesses that he was forced to sell as a consequence of his injuries. This considerable head of loss had not been fully explored previously. Gathering a wealth of witness statements and expert evidence, we were able to prove the business had a significant sale value, reflecting the Claimant’s skills and considerable work ethic that resulted in such a successful outcome.
Novum Law’s team brought the claim to a successful conclusion, securing a significant sum of nearly £10,000,000 – almost five times the sum that had been offered prior to Novum Law taking over the case.
Diane Reading, Senior Associate of Novum Law who acted on behalf of Mr G, said:
“We are so very pleased that we were able to assist Mr G achieve the compensation award that he was absolutely entitled to. We were able to co-ordinate a multi-disciplinary team of experts to meet his very complex and specific needs in relation to care, rehabilitation, an appropriate environment for him to live in and to enable him to access the community, improving his quality of life and that of his family.
“This was a complex and unusual case due to the delayed onset of Mr G’s catastrophic stroke almost a year after his accident. I cannot praise the family enough for their patience, determination and utmost dignity throughout this process.
“As personal injury solicitors, we are always delighted when we can make such a positive difference in people’s lives. Mr G and his family had struggled on their own for many years without the full care and support they needed after his stroke. It has been a very long and arduous journey for them, but they can finally look forward to the rest of their lives and plan their future.”